Altan (IRE), formed 1987, are perhaps THE modern Irish folk band. Altan’s long and successful career is built on both lively, colorful versions of traditional tunes and excellent original pieces, with the band’s notable arrangement skills always present. What I have come to think of as Altan’s trademarks are their notable versatility – effortless mastery of both fast tempo dance tunes and painterly slow pieces and airs – and the richness of nuance in their playing.
Despite some dramatic and tragic lineup changes over the years, the band’s sound has remained warm and rounded, very approachable, with
Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh’s beautiful vocals leading the way.
With only the slightest electric embellishments here and there on their later albums, they have stayed firmly acoustic through the decades and the popularity they enjoy worldwide in the folk music scene is more than well deserved.
Altan on the Web: